Graduate, 30, buys home after saving £15,000 for deposit using coupons

Is this Britain’s savviest shopper? Thrifty school worker, 30, buys three-bed semi-detached home after saving £15,000 for deposit using discount coupons on day-to-day shopping over just six years

  • Clair Hughes first researched money saving ideas to get out of student overdraft
  • 30-year-old savvy shopper from Bury estimates she’s saved ‘easily over £15,000’
  • She even managed to put wn a deposit to buy three-bedroom house with partner
  • Ms Hughes got six months worth of dog food for her Pomeranian Poppy for £9
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Clair Hughes told how she has saved £15,000 and bought a house – thanks to coupons

A woman has told of how she has saved £15,000 and bought a house – thanks to coupons.

Clair Hughes, 30, first began to research money saving ideas as a way of getting out of her £3,500 student overdraft.

The savvy shopper started trawling the internet for discount coupons and cut price offers, and now estimates she’s saved ‘easily over £15,000’.

And she even managed to put down a deposit to buy a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Bury, Greater Manchester with her partner, Shane Byrne, also 30.

Revealing how she never pays full price for an item anymore, thrifty Ms Hughes, who works in a local school, said: ‘It’s become a running joke with my friends. Every time we go out, they’ll ask if I have a voucher – and I always do.

‘Discounts are always there to be had, it’s just a matter of being organised.

‘Before I started this, I thought it’d be so much work, but now I’m so used to this lifestyle that it’s automatic to me. I must have saved easily over £15,000.’


A haul of yellow stickered reduced items – including pottaoes for 18p and coriander for 14p


A shop Edge Hill University graduate Ms Hughes actually made profit on thanks to cashback


Ms Hughes initially spent hours trawling the web for money off vouchers or discount codes

Ms Hughes’s mind first turned to money saving back in 2010, when she moved in with Mr Byrne, a phone company trainer.

Having recently graduated from Edge Hill University, near Wigan, where she studied drama and physical theatre, she’d maxed out her £3,500 student overdraft – and felt the interest repayments were just ‘money down the drain.’

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After taking to the web for advice, she tried out a few clever money saving tricks like switching her overdraft to a zero-interest account.

Then, a few years later, she came across an online community for ‘couponers’ and decided to give it a go.

She started spending hours trawling the web for money off vouchers or discount codes, printing them all out to take with her whenever she went shopping.


She started off by printing out the vouchers to take with her whenever she went shopping


Ms Hughes put down a deposit to buy a three-bedroom house with her partner, Shane Byrne




Ms Hughes (left, with her dog, Poppy) began using cashback apps around two years ago


A haul of items that cost savvy shopper Ms Hughes just £1.53 – including 23p on lettuce

‘It would initially take a couple of hours to get organised,’ she said. ‘I’d go on supermarket websites to look through what I’d need in a shop, making a note of anything on offer, or anything I had a coupon for.

‘Eventually though it becomes second nature and you can do it in around half an hour.’

Clare Hughes’s money-saving tips

  • Switching your overdraft to a zero-interest account
  • Trawl the web for money off vouchers or discount codes, and print them out
  • Use cashback apps and websites to get money back on shopping – upload pictures of your receipts after each shop, and money is given back on certain items
  • Take part in paid online surveys, to earn high street vouchers,
  • Hit the shops at certain times of the day to take advantage of reduced ‘yellow sticker’ stock
  • Sign up to receive trials or tester products or trawl cosmetics counters for freebies
  • Write to companies to compliment them on their products
  • Wombling – where you collect other people’s discarded receipts from shopping trolleys to check for missed discounts

Over the years, the coupon queen has managed to nab some impressive hauls.

Two lamps worth £140 cost her just £35, and because she learnt buying in bulk is usually cheaper, she scored six months worth of dog food for her Pomeranian Poppy for a mere £9.

Around two years ago, Ms Hughes also began using cashback apps and websites where you are given money back on items ranging from beers to toiletries.

After each shop, she uploads pictures of her receipts, which are then scanned, and money is given back on certain items.

‘I’ve saved hundreds through that alone,’ said bargain-mad Ms Hughes.

‘You can get cashback on most things, and it’s all something I’d have been buying anyway. If something is totally free, I always make sure I get it regardless of whether I’ll use it, as I can donate it to a charity or foodbank.

‘But with cashback, I make sure it’s worth my while.’

Among her other top saving tips, Ms Hughes recommends taking part in paid online surveys, which have earned her hundreds in high street vouchers, hitting the shops at certain times of the day to take advantage of reduced ‘yellow sticker’ stock, signing up to receive trials or tester products or trawling cosmetics counters for freebies.


Some beauty freebies accumulated by Ms Hughes, who also takes part in paid online surveys




Ms Hughes graduated from Edge Hill University, where she studied drama and physical theatre


Ms Hughes’s key to her new home, which had set herself the goal of owning by the age of 30

She added: ‘I have managed to get a lot of freebies by messaging or writing to companies to compliment them on their products. People always assume you get freebies for complaining – but it pays more to be nice.

‘I’ve heard a lot about a practice called wombling too, which is basically collecting other people’s discarded receipts from shopping trolleys to check for missed discounts. 

‘I’d love to give it a try but there doesn’t seem to be a receipt to be found at my local supermarket.’

Having set herself the goal of owning a home by the time she was 30, Ms Hughes – who has set up an Instagram dedicated to sharing her thrifty pearls of wisdom – was delighted to exchange just five days shy of her landmark birthday.


A set of Morphy Richards pans Ms Hughes managed to get for free by using discounts


Ms Hughes is now looking to plan the ultimate budget wedding after her partner proposed


Ms Hughes insisted that now she’s got the house, ‘it’s time to save again for the wedding’

And now, after Mr Byrne proposed to her on his birthday earlier in August, she is looking ahead to planning the ultimate shoestring wedding.

‘I can’t wait to see what I can do on a budget,’ she said. ‘The proposal was a total surprise, I couldn’t believe it. Now we’ve got the house, it’s time to save again for the wedding.

‘I can’t believe how much coupons and cashback apps have helped me. The community is really helpful. There will always be someone on hand to explain how it all works. I get messages all the time myself.

‘Outwardly it looks like a lot of work, but when you see the thousands and thousands you can save, it’s well worth it.’

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